TODAY -

Nagas make a strong pitch for Peace
say 'we want Solution, not Election'

Source: Nirendra Dev *

Dimapur, August 05 2022: Theja Therie of NPAC says - "No business is progressing in Nagaland while government offices are busy collecting money and paying out to national workers...why should Naga people remain under the shadow of someone who cannot bring solution" .

His references were obliquely to the NSCN-IM leadership and the state authorities and also the Government of India.

Kekonchim Yimkhiung.

Co-Convener of NPAC, says, - If Govt of India I cannot bring the solution to logical conclusion at the earliest, then leave the Nagas alone" .

Many say when the NNPG opposed the BJP-NDPP seat share pact, it actually reflected the group's lack of confidence in the present arrangement in the state for taking the peace process forward.

There is intense clamour for lasting Peace and solution to the vexed political issue in Nagaland.

The Naga People's Action Committee (NPAC) has called for a crucial Public Rally at Dimapur on Friday, August 5, wherein leaders of all Naga tribes, influential pressure groups and community leaders even from various non-tribal and non-Naga communities including Bengalis, Bhojpuris and Punjabis would seek an early solution to the Naga issue and the 25-year-old protracted negotiations between ultras and the centre.

Will Nagaland finally enter into an era of peace jubilation on the 75th year of India's Independence ? .

"There has to be a Naga solution.

25 years of negotiation is called mockery.

Let's have some self-respect," the organisers said in an announcement explaining the 'reasons' for the rally.

It has been also asserted: "If you carry tribalism as a badge of honour, please stay at home" .

Hundreds of volunteers and the general public will carry placards reading among other things - 'Indo-Naga political issue is people's issue', 'We want Solution not Election' and 'Civil Societies Real Stakeholders' .

The Naga peace negotiations formally began in August 1997 between the potent insurgent group NSCN-IM and the Centre during the stint of I K Gujral as the Prime Minister.

Officials say the talks have completed by Oct 31, 2019; however, raising the bogies of Flag and a separate Naga constitution by the NSCN-IM leadership headed by Thuingaleng Muivah have stalled the talks.

However, an umbrella group of Naga insurgent groups operating within the state of Nagaland - NNPG - led by N Kitovi Zhimomi is keen for an early signing of a final peace pact.

While NSCN-IM and the Centre have inked a Framework Agreement on Aug 3, 2015; two years later on Nov 17,2017, the NNPG and the government of India have signed an Agreed Position.

Since the last few months several top Naga leaders including BJP's floor leader in the assembly and deputy Chief Minister Y Patton have given strong indications that a final peace pact will probably be inked by August 15, 2022 .

"It was a significant announcement by a senior BJP leader.

The BJP-led NDA government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi should now walk the talk and give Nagas the much sought after Peace and Solution," said a spokesman of NPAC.

"We have maintained that the people on the ground want a solution and are preparing to create a clear passage for smooth landing of Peace and Solution to the Nagas," he said.

In a statement, the Nagaland People's Action Committee (NPAC) has urged Prime Minister Modi and the Government of India to demonstrate 'political will' to deliver on its promises with regard to the Naga political solution.

"The NPAC constituted by the CSOs and Tribal Hohos representing the people shall work towards this consensus and pursue an early Naga Political solution.

We anticipate full support of the Tribal Hohos, CSOs and the Parliamentary Committee of Nagaland to extend its unflinching support towards the common cause and stand firm on people's voice so that the people in authority will not take us for a ride," the release stated.

However, the rally organisers have charged the incumbent Neiphiu Rio government and the NDPP-BJP-NPF coalition regime of 'betraying' the cause by ditching solutions in favour of elections.

Polls are due in Nagaland by February-March 2023 along with Tripura and Meghalaya.

The two coalition partners NDPP and BJP have on July 26 kicked off the political and electoral process among themselves by signing a seat sharing agreement.

The NPAC leaders have stated that the 40:20 seat share deal between NDPP of Neiphiu Rio and the BJP was not acceptable to the people in general at this juncture.

One NPAC leader said - "The seat share pact indicated that Chief Minister Rio is looking forward to the 2023 election.

Chief Minister Rio cannot be allowed to jeopardise Solution for his self-interest" .

The pro-Solution NNPG has also blasted the NDPP-BJP deal and of course there were some initial signs of dissension among the rank and file of BJP in Nagaland.

Even the Deputy Chief Minister Patton had initially opposed the seat sharing agreement of July 26 saying he was not consulted.

The seat share pact was announced after Chief Minister Rio held a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament premises in Delhi on July 26 in presence of Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

A section of BJP leaders in Nagaland have said that Sarma should not have interfered in 'pure political' matters of Nagas and the seat share formula if at all ought to be finalised by BJP and NDPP leaders either in Delhi or in Kohima/Dimapur.

All district chambers of commerce will put their shutters down on Thursday, August in favour of the rally.

Medozhatuo Rutsa, president of Kohima Chamber of Commerce & Industry, has urged traders and shopkeepers to stand in solidarity support to "Shutter Down" on 5th August 2022 during the rally hours i.e.10:00 AM to 12:00 PM called by Nagaland People's Action Committee (NPAC) .

"We earnestly request all the trading communities to be a part of this necessitating enactment by sacrificing 2 hours of one's business for early Naga political solution which will herald in peace, economic progress and will more importantly fathom out the predicament of taxation," he said.

'Taxation' is a major social and economic mess in Nagaland which in effect means rampant extortion by various armed Naga militant groups.

In the past, some armed groups have spoken in favour of such practice saying there ought to be 'taxes' on the people.

Security officials have termed these as illegal and even recommended actions lately.

* The sender of this news can be contacted at nirendev1(AT)gmail(DOT)com .


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